Whether you’re catching a cruise out of Boston or just going to take some time to check out this historic city, there’s plenty to keep everyone from ages 8 to 80 occupied. After a recent sailing I got to spend some time in Boston and found a few things to do.
This article was updated in January 2023.
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Here are five things we recommend when visiting Boston:
1. Freedom Trail
Take a few hours to walk Boston’s Freedom Trail. You can’t get lost on this trail as there are red bricks that outline it through the whole city. Explore The Boston Common, The State House, Site of the Boston Massacre, and a dozen other historic sites around the city. Every stop along this 2.5 mile journey tells a great story on the history of the United States. thefreedomtrail.org
2. Chinatown or Little Italy Boston Food Tour
These tours have been featured on Travel Channel, TV Food Network, HGTV, and CNN. You’ll have the chance to walk through Italian or Chinese markets, sample foods, learn cooking secrets, and find the rich heritage of these two areas of Boston. bitesofbostonfoodtours.com
3. Famous Duck Tour
These amphibious WWII-style vehicles take you on a journey through land and water around Boston and Charles River. The 80-minute fully-narrated tours give you a brief history of the city, explains the famous Big Dig, and show you historic buildings around the city. Adult tickets start at $50 and the season runs from late March through late November. www.bostonducktours.com
4. Boston’s TV and Movie Sites Tour
These on-location tours take you to the scenes where some of the most popular sitcoms and movies were filmed, like The Town, The Departed, Good Will Hunting, Cheer, Ally McBeal, and more. The bus tour is offered on Saturdays and costs $61 per adult for 3 hours. onlocationtours.com/boston-movie-tv-tours/boston-tv-movie-tour/
5. Boston Harbor Islands National Park Area
Hop on a ferry from the wharf and head to these islands where there’s over 150 free things to check out plus guided tours from a park ranger. These islands are great for hiking, swimming, pictures, kayaking, and other cool outdoor wonders. The visitors and exhibit centers are loaded with great park info and Jasper White’s Summer Shack (a clam shack) is located on the island. www.bostonharborislands.org
Here are some tips that I found helpful in Boston:
- Get a hotel near the metro system. Though Boston is a very walkable, at the end of the day you may not feel like walking a couple miles or battling the traffic to get to your hotel.
- Buy a CharlieCard – this is Boston’s metro pass for their public transit system called the T. Depending on your plans, you can buy a day card for unlimited use for $11 vs $2.40 per ride.
- Invest in a Boston Card to give you access to 48 attractions, also allowing you to skip lines. The price starts at $69 for a one-day pass and is well worth the price — it certainly beats paying for everything a la carte. www.smartdestinations.com/Boston